Tuesday, June 30, 2009

McCoy Creek – Mill Race – Pears Mill Controversy Simmers in Berrien County, Michigan

Discussions about restoration of the Mill Race—which was constructed about 160 years ago by diverting water from McCoy Creek—to provide water sufficient for the continued summertime operation of Pears Mill, a historic attraction in downtown Buchanan, Michigan, have continued off and on for the past four years. Proponents (notably the Buchanan Preservation Society, property owners along the Mill Race, and a majority of local residents) claim that the mill race can be restored and the mill operated without affecting the quality of McCoy Creek, while opponents (notably Trout Unlimited, St. Joseph River Valley Fly Fishers, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality—which agency must issue a permit before any restoration work can begin) claim otherwise. And there the standoff remains.

On June 11, 2009, the Buchanan City Commission held a special work session to receive comments from the public on the future of the Mill Race and Pears Mill. Subsequently, an article by correspondent Debra Haight appeared in two local newspapers under different headlines and slightly different opening paragraphs:
Some Want More Water for Pears Mill—-Plans to dredge and improve mill race remain under discussion
South Bend Tribune – Tuesday, June 16, 2009, pages B1 and B2

If Buchanan city officials and many local residents had their way, something would be done right away to get more water into the McCoy’s [sic] Creek mill race that feeds water to the historical Pears Mill in downtown Buchanan.

Unfortunately, the decision on taking action to bring more water from the creek to the mill race isn’t up to the city, as city commissioners and City Manager Meg Mullendore were quick to point out at a recent work session on the issue.

[NOTE: Remainder of article is continued below…]

Millrace is Hot Topic at Special Work Session
Berrien County Record – Thursday, June 18, 2009, pages A1 and B8

The millrace was once again the topic of discussion at a special work session held last week by the Buchanan City Commission.

While many of those in attendance asked the city to act to get more water into the millrace so that historic Pears Mill can operate during the summer months, it looks like the decision isn’t necessarily one the city can make on its own.

City Commissioners and City Manager Meg Mullendore were quick to point out that bringing more water from the creek to the millrace isn’t up to the city.

[NOTE: From this point on, the text of the article is identical in both papers...]

"I’ve lived with this controversy for several years," Commissioner Patricia Moore said. "Many times we have come up with solutions and the state is there to put up an obstacle.... We’ve come up with solutions and been stonewalled."

Mullendore said that ultimately whatever happens is up to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials since they would have to approve a permit to dredge and make improvements to the millrace.

She said the DEQ would also have to approve a permit for replacing part of the dam structure damaged by vandals earlier this spring. That vandalism apparently caused less water to go into the millrace this spring and summer.

The work session was attended by over 40 people, many of whom spoke out in support of getting more water into the millrace. The issue isn’t a new one for the city, officials and residents have debated what to do for the last few years.

Two years ago, a city proposal to replace the dam-like structure that diverts water from the creek into the millrace on the south side of the city was rejected by DEQ officials.

Also in 2007, a plan the DEQ approved calling for a well to be dug to provide water for the mill was rejected by some local residents who wanted to see not only more water for the mill but also the preservation of the millrace.

The focus of Thursday’s meeting was on the most recent proposal—as mentioned above—that would dredge the race and make improvements to the millrace and creek.

That proposal was prepared by a consulting firm [Wetland and Coastal Resources of Lansing, Michigan] last fall. Their cost estimate of $65,400 would cover getting designs, permits, endangered species studies done as well as the work itself.

A majority of the dozen or so speakers at Thursday’s meetng as well as four letters received at city hall favored doing more to help the millrace and spoke of its historical value, its importance to Pears Mill and to local tourism in general.

Buchanan Preservation Society President Tom Fehlner said the proposal won’t harm McCoy’s [sic] Creek, a coldwater trout stream, but will help the millrace which was constructed around 1850.

He said the community can’t depend anymore on industry to provide jobs and must look to tourism and history to attract visitors.

"We’re very lucky here to have a mill site with a building, machinery and a race to drive it," he said. "That distinguishes Buchanan from other communities in a 30 to 40 mile radius. The mill will never make a lot of money itself but it can help other businesses."

"This is my seventh year as president of the Preservation Society," Fehlner said. "The plan was proposed in 2005, the DEQ public hearing was in 2007 and the consultant was hired in 2008. I’m now 72 years old and would like to see this finished before they plant me in the ground."

Others hit on his themes of preserving history. Marjorie Foster said history is important to the social make-up of the community and that Pears Mill gives people a reason to stop in Buchanan and visit.

Randal Peart moved here from Chicago a few years ago and is a licensed engineer. He said he’s studied the consultants’ report and thinks it would work. As for the history, he said if people "forget the past, they won’t have any future."

John Trapp is a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and urged action to restore the water levels in the millrace.

"Downtown Buchanan without a functioning mill is like the Washington Monument without the reflecting pool," he said. "It’s a no-brainer, it helps the mill and brings tourists to town with no damage to the creek."

Sending letters of support were Dick and Mae Proud, Shirley Roti Roti, Jerry Flenar and his family, and Jeff Antisdel and his family.

The Prouds said that tourism could be a lifeline for the community to grow and spoke against closing off the millrace. "Once you tear something down, you can’t get it back," they wrote.

On the other side, resident Larry Elliot presented a letter from the Michigan Trout Unlimited chapter in opposition to the dredging plan and what they see as its negative effect on the creek. He also pointed out that state official are against having dams in waterways.

Elliot said the consultants’ report was not comprehensive and did not consider the millrace’s imact on the creek, a point supported by another resident, Peter Hartz. "If I go to the doctor and he says I have cancer, I’ll go to another doctor and get another opinion," he said.

Hartz noted that the city has made environmental mistakes that have helped create the situation such as not clearing out sediment traps at locations on the creek. "If the city stepped up its stewardship, we could have both the creek and the millrace healthy," he said.

"What strikes me is that the people who are so gung ho for the mill act like we (fishermen and creek supporters) want to torch the mill," he said. "That’s not case. We can have a viable mill and a viable cold water trout steam and together they could bring in 10 times more money than just the mill."

The meeting ended with comments from the four commissioners in attendance. Bill Norton thanked people for coming, said he wanted to see both the millrace and the creek prosper but noted that the city is restricted by what the state will allow it to do.

Warren Weaver said he hoped the city would get cooperation from the state all the parties involved to find a solution including possibly constructing a well to provide water to the mill.

Moore spoke in favor of providing more fishing opportunities as well as protecting history. Carla Cole said the city needs to come to a conclusion on the issue and said she’d like to see a reward established to find out who blocked the millrace off earlier this year.

Southwestern Michigan’s Natural River

Michigan is blessed with more than 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, including more than 12,000 miles of cold-water trout streams. Michigan’s Natural Rivers Program was:
developed to preserve, protect and enhance . . . [the] State’s finest river systems for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations by allowing property owners their right to reasonable development, while protecting Michigan’s unique river systems [emphasis added].
Of the 16 Michigan waterways designated as State Natural Rivers, only one is located in the ten southwestern-most counties (i.e., Allegan, Berrien, Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Eaton, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren), that being portions of the Lower Kalamazoo River and selected tributaries in Allegan County.

An Asian model from Tracy Nanthavongsa's photos

Most of Tracy Nanthavongsa's photos are about Caucasian males. From Internet info, he is still a student but very talent in male model photo shoot. Plenty of his photos are borrowed by many popular photo blogs, and this Asian model collection is one of his. In this gallery, I think these shoots are not only about hot model, they are about the spirit of a hot Asian guy.

big bust, sexy and manly face with glasses

His face is familiar to Bi (Rain) - a Korean hot singer, but I like this face better

Inspiration Board: Orange Citrus

Creating this board made me realize just how many shades of orange there are and how difficult of a color it is. You see, in searching for it online when you type "orange" you have both the words "orange" as in the color orange and "orange" as in the citrus, which, conveniently is also orange. Phew. 

Anyway, I realized how versatile a color orange really can be. Mix it with dark colors like browns and burgundies and you have a rich warm Fall palette. Mix it with bright hues like hot pink or kelly green and you have a very poppy bright Summer palette. Or, do as I did here and mix it with soft whites and creams to create a subdued look and orange will stand all on it's own.

What do you think?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fishing Regulations for McCoy Creek, Berrien County, Michigan

McCoy Creek is a designated trout stream, as legally determined by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) in FO-210 (.pdf). The MDNR has classified trout streams into 7 different categories, or types, for regulatory purposes.

McCoy Creek is a Type-1 stream. Regulations for Type-1 streams are among the most restrictive in Michigan in terms of season length and among the least restrictive in terms of types of tackle that can be used, daily possession limits, and minimum size limits.

Specific regulations, as they apply to McCoy Creek for the 2009 season, are as follows:
  • Open Season: last Saturday in April to September 30.
  • Possession Season: Same.
  • Tackle: All (including artificial flies, lures, and live bait).
  • Daily Possession Limit: 5 fish, of which no more than 3 may be 15 or more inches in length. EXCEPTION: Up to 5 salmon (Chinook^ and/or Coho^) 15 inches or larger may be kept daily.
  • Minimum Size Limits: Brook^ and Brown trout—8 inches; Rainbow Trout^—10 inches; Chinook^ and Coho^ salmon—10 inches.

    ^Wesley and Duffy (1999) do not depict McCoy Creek as being part of the “known past or present distributions” of any of these four species. However, they do show them as occurring in the mainstem of the St. Joseph River between Berrien Springs and Niles, so it is possible that some individuals of these introduced species make seasonal movements into the lower reaches of McCoy Creek. However, if one or more of these species were to enter the mouth of McCoy Creek, the water-control structure at the lower end of the McCoy Duck Pond—if not the falls at the site of the former Bainton Mill further downstream—provides an effective barrier to further upstream movement of fish.
  • The only other sport fish known to occur in McCoy Creek (historically or at present) is the Warmouth, a type of panfish.


    Wesley, Jay K., and Joan E. Duffy. 1999. St. Joseph River Assessment. Appendix 1c (.pdf). Distribution maps of fish species. Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division Fisheries Report 24: 69-111. URL:

    Exploring McCoy Creek, Berrien County, Michigan

    This video—produced by Joseph Dits of the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune—is narrated by Scott King, a volunteer with McCoy’s Creek Trail in Buchanan, Michigan:

    This is indeed a lovely area, but to compare it to a West Virginia Appalachian Mountain trout stream is a bit of a stretch. The trout and salmon that Mr. King describes are not native to McCoy Creek; all of them owe their presence in the watershed to intentional (and repeated) releases by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

    Inspiration Board: Lemon

    Something very fun and exciting for you all; this week we've declared it FRUIT WEEK! We will post an inspiration board everyday based around a different type of fruit. So, to start us off, we have lemon with a lovely yellow and white collection of images.

    Don't you love the fun, light, and summery yellow palette? So bright and cheery!

    Thanks for another beautiful board, Ashley!

    {lemonade, cake, invitation, shoes, lemons in vase, yellow dress, flowers via Eventfully Yours, tablescape via SD Wedding Insider, bridal dress via Kelly Oshiro Events, clutch, lemons}

    So, what do you think?

    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    Anthony Nguyen – an "evil look" in APM Calendar 2010

    This set came from test photo shoot at Model Anthony Nguyen, live in CA, appeared in Asian Pacific Male calendar. His body is extremely hot, but the face looks widely and a little bit...evil. Whatever, enjoy this hottie in black-white pics...

    and in beautiful smooth red skin pics...

    Saturday, June 27, 2009

    In My Beautiful Balloon...

    I tend to avoid standard reviewing of contemporary animated films. In the first place there's plenty of that everywhere else. And more importantly I feel close enough to even those films and studios I personally have nothing to do with that I'm sure my reactions are skewed one way or another. There's aren't degrees of separation, plural, in the animation business. We're virtually all connected with every kind of tie and association, sometimes unwittingly. So it can get complicated. In any case I thought I'd post some random thoughts I had while watching "Up" in 3D a week after its opening:

    I was struck by how beautiful I found the palette and textures to be. It looked painterly, roughly so in places, as with the side of a palette knife. There was a particularly delicate use of lighting in what seemed a great collaboration of the visdev(AD) and CG departments. It made such an impression on me that I I broke one of my cardinal rules and elbowed the person next to me, forcing him to lean in so I could hiss "I can't believe how great that lighting is!" and "Would you look at that fireplace!" in their ear. What you wish for as a toiler and as an audience member is that the story and visual beauty will both take you out of yourself and put you in that world, and I thought the entire opening succeeded brilliantly with it. I may sound as if I'm contradicting myself there, but it was a beat after being impacted by the beauty of the shot that I woke up to the extraordinary aspect of it. Eating one's cake and seeing it, too. The sets looked to me for all the world like a cozy Viewmaster setting from the early 60s, which I delighted in throughout.

    I admired (as so many did) the storyboarding, particularly the "growing older together" montage early on. I reckoned it was done by head of story Ronnie del Carmen, and someone told me I was right.
    There are a lot of ways to board anything, never one right way (the filmmakers hope it seems the only way), but the way that was done--the transitions, cuts, all the choices--were perfect. I arrived at that verdict because I felt exhilarated watching it. It had to be a tightrope walk to avoid slipping into bathos (some critics felt it did slip, but only a few; to achieve that is a feat with this material).

    I felt as touched by the sweet comedy relief of Dug the dog as I did at Carl's running struggle with loss. That might seem a pretty odd thing to say-and I allude here with a virtual smile to my respected friend who may think I've regressed to an eight-year-old's perspective to claim it-but there it is.

    "Dug" was a win for me because of this: one of my pet peeves is the lack of films that make use of plain old reality for comedy, for pathos, for appeal. Dug was in appearance a wildly caricatured canine, but his actions, movement and the clever way his thoughts were translated into dialogue were more real than real for any dog lovers in the audience--and judging from my audience there were a lot of us. The kids squeal and love him because he's friendly-looking, and funny. The adults laugh and respond because they consciously recognize Dogs They Have Known in this unlikely character--and here, by the way, is an illustration of the work methods of the filmmakers I was blogging about in an earlier post. I don't know which of those involved drove the character's handling-director, story people, producers,animators or as is likely a melange of all of them. But those people know dogs, and moreover have loved dogs--a special dog. And have a healthy amount of empathy and imagination and skill enough to make their experience translate to the screen. This is why I enjoyed Dug so much, and not because I'm wallowing in my childhood.

    And this gives me an opportunity to say how really fine I thought the character animation was in "Up". I don't know who you are, but I want to find out-all of you: the crews who did Carl (young Carl and Ellie in particular-superb), Dug, Muntz, "Kevin"...all these characters had scenes where the movement and performance blended together in an idiosyncratic and beautiful way. It's a new high point for you guys-as every new film should be, ideally.

    There were issues that I found myself thinking about while the film was running, things that I didn't understand, or that I would have done differently. It's a habitual story habit thing--an occupational hazard of the business. I could go into them but I won't, not even obliquely. Not because they're so harsh that I'm afraid to offend but because--on my blog or off--I'm wary of being taken out of context and let's face it, it does happen. It's all too easy to misread a written sentence. It's too black and white, and where some things are concerned my opinions and reactions are more fluid than that. I'm much more comfortable discussing anything I take issue with in person, where a conversation can be had rather than a one-sided speech made. And I'm not a professional critic besides.

    An old man in a flying house heading for South America is not your everyday plot. Add a lot of visual beauty and some sincere heart and I want to see it. More than once.

    Apocalyptic Film: 2012

    A global cataclysm occurs which leads to the end to the world and has survivors struggling for their lives. The film is inspired by several hypotheses that state the ancient Mayans predicted a doomsday event will occur sometime around the 2012 winter solstice. The original basis for this comes from the end of the current cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, on December 21, 2012.

    Friday, June 26, 2009

    Chaiwat "Tob" Thongsang - a Thai actor

    I know him from movie named "Bangkok Love Story" - a gay romantic crime action drama. Now trying to train in the gym most days in the hopes of becoming a professional body builder, he becomes a muscle, looks (may be) hotter than the old days. Now, just enjoy the visual effect of this hot guy...

    And these pics must come from his old day...

    Click to View High Resolution Picture

    and he is now...

    Inspiration Board: Mint Chocolate Chip

    Here is another beautiful board Ashley made entitled "Mint Chocolate Chip." With the soft, light green color and warm chocolate tones, I think the title perfectly correlates to the board.

    What do you think? Beautiful, no?

    Be sure to come back next week for a week full of inspiration.

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Birdwatching As a Stress Reliever

    This article from Health News and Information for Women argues that birdwatching is a great activity for relieving stress.

    While backyard birding can indeed be relaxing and an ideal way to relieve stress, I would argue that the competitive birding and listing that is so popular these days is anything but relaxing and stress-free.

    A beautiful smile from Robby Lee - a hot Chinese model

    Robby Lee is quite famous in China. He’s known as a model for BenQ, NEC cell phone, Panasonic Microwave, Paris Wedding...

    Mostly I like this one. It looks just...freshly...

    Some info:

    Chinese name: Lee Xiao Bin

    Hometown: Shanghai

    Height: 5.8ft

    Weight: 145 lbs

    Fist the face...

    and his sexy body...

    Wet DJ!

    Once upon a time there was a beautiful bride and a fantastically handsome groom. They were to be wed right outside an amazingly glorious castle hotel on the lawn overlooking the ocean. All of the guests were watching as the bride and groom said those words to one another, promising to love each other until the end of times.

    As the photographer looked over his shoulder he noticed these huge dark clouds that were heading towards our lovely bride and groom.

    The DJ who had his expensive equiptment set up for the ceremony and cocktail hour had stepped inside, as his job was done for about 20 minutes, the rest of the ceremony.

    The minister out of the corner of his eye saw the blackness that was invading our glorious nuptials, decided to hurry up the ceremony as to not leave the guests and our lovely bride in groom in the wetness that was about to occur.

    The bride and groom kissed, they headed inside the castle hotel the guests followed. The skies opened up, the clouds parted, and a sea of water hit our beautiful ceremony location, just in time for hte guests to be safely inside.

    Although our handsome DJ who was inside still thinking the ceremony was progressing, had no idea that his equiptment just recieved a bath.

    UH- OH!

    The DJ then had to call his company and get them to get him new equiptment... 45 minutes later... 45 minutes without music.
    When hiring your vendors make sure they have equiptment available as a back up, make sure they could even have the ability to play music if something was to happen to their equiptment.

    You have to be prepared for the worst of the worst at the very least!

    Photo: Corbis

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Be a Planner: Class Offering

    Thrilled to announce that Be a Planner will be offering another certification class in July in Gainesville, Florida. The class will be held July 25-26, 2009 from 8AM-5PM both days at the beautiful Sweetwater Branch Inn

    This class is a two day course, basically it is a very intense, but enjoyable, two days filled with everything you need to know about planning an event. It is like having a degree in event planning with a major in wedding planning. We feel that you could walk out of the class with enough knowledge to plan and direct a wedding on your own, or for a company without a second thought. And if you are already in the industry it will give you the credentials as well as some of the tricks to the trade including how to work with a difficult client and how to meet and exceed the needs of your current clients.

    It is a fun weekend, filled with tons of information that will be super valuable to you whether or not you decide to pursue a career in this industry. We talk about how to handle those simple but unique details to suit even the most extravagant requests, the proper way to cut a wedding cake, how to dress a bride, working with vendors, how to acquire contacts, how to receive referrals, how to work with a client, how to acclimate to new location, how to start a business, and A LOT MORE! This course has been approved through the Department of Education, and we are very excited to bring it back to Gainesville.

    So please don't hesitate to contact us at info {at} MasterPieceWeddings {dot} net for more information and to join us in the fun!

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Ready to date a mature guy?

    Is that usual to meet Asian bears/chubs? No, I don’t think so. Because of natural reason, it’s rare to meet an Asian hairy dad.
    Here, an example of Japanese guy. His name is Luis. Some pics are taken from studio, but some are from his day life. Seeing from special angle shoot, he looks great after all.
    First, look at what he was having fun with camera and this set is supposed to give you an idea of Asian daddy face. Seem like he was acting a “manga face”, right? :)

    I love the pic when he was with cherry blossom...